Rose Castle

Rose Castle

Location Dalston

Grid Ref NY 371462


Just off the road from Carlisle and Dalston to Caldbeck


Rose Castle. Pic N0362.


Rose Castle is the palace of the Bishops of Carlisle, and although not open to the public, may be viewed from the nearby road, or the public footpath from Rosebank to Raughton Head. Although it looks Victorian, it has parts dating from many centuries, the oldest being the pele tower – Strickland’s Tower, of 1340, which is probably built on the site of an earlier Motte and Bailey.


Originally the castle was built round four sides of a central courtyard, though two sides of this has now gone. Bishop Strickland’s Tower was burnt, with much of the rest of the castle, by parliamentary troops in 1648 during the Civil War. It was restored in the 1760’s, and then more substantially for Bishop Percy by Anthony Salvin in 1852.


The extent of the demolition after the damage caused by the Civil War is evident, when you see that the two surviving wings have been substantially rebuilt since the medieval period. Everything was remodelled during the time of Bishop Percy (1826-56), when all evidence of the classical facade was eliminated. Much of this work was done by Thomas Rickman in the period 1829-31.


The landscaping of the terraces and rosary was done for Bishop Percy by the noted horticulturist Sir Joseph Paxton.


Rose Castle. Pic F73P25.


The front door contains one of the few survivals from the time of Bishop Rainbow (1664-84) – a lock dated 1673 and initialled A.P. for Lady Anne Clifford, countess of Pembroke. When she was restoring her castles, she gave a number of similar locks to several of her friends of whom Bishop Rainbow was one. A portrait of Lady Anne hangs in the hall, next to the door.


Wordsworth and Coleridge, who inspected the house in 1803, were delighted and found ‘all but perfect – cottage comfort and ancestral dignity’.


Rose Castle


Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham.


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